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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Don’t Repeal Swaps Push-Out Requirements (Section 716 of Dodd-Frank)

by | December 12th, 2014 | 10:34 am

Section 716 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act requires that some derivative transactions be “pushed out” from those parts of banks that have deposit insurance (run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC]) and other forms of backstop (provided by the Federal Reserve). This is a sensible provision that, if properly implemented, would help keep […]

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A New Reformist Offensive in Ukraine

by | December 10th, 2014 | 04:17 pm

Ukraine is on the brink of a financial meltdown, but its newly formed government appears to be prepared to do what it takes to turn the situation around. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s speech to parliament on December 9 laid out one the boldest and most impressive reform agendas that Ukraine has seen in its recent […]

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PIIE Chart: Political Timetables for US Free Trade Agreements

by | December 10th, 2014 | 12:50 pm

The United States is negotiating two major free trade agreements (FTAs): the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which involves 10 other countries, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union. Both negotiations have been held up by stumbling blocks, but there is cautious but growing optimism about the prospects […]

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The European Union Lags on Basel III Banking Reforms

by | December 10th, 2014 | 12:10 pm

The European Union, which often claims leadership on championing global financial standards, has been found to be the global laggard on a key aspect of banking regulation, as documented by the latest report (December 5) of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. As was to be expected, the Basel Committee—in examining adherence to its international […]

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The Russian Economy Is Heading toward Disaster

by | December 8th, 2014 | 01:52 pm

President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly in the Kremlin on December 4 occurred in the midst of a perfect financial storm, which he largely ignored. His unspoken main message was that no economic reforms would take place. But the speech might have been his last opportunity to use reforms to save […]

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The Scramble for Bauxite: Beware of Chinese Promising Gifts

by | December 4th, 2014 | 09:18 am

Earlier this year, in an effort to promote downstream processing, Indonesia banned the export of mineral ores. As intended, the policy has expanded Indonesian processing activities. But it has also led to a drop in the export of metals, because refining and smelting capacity has not increased rapidly enough to make up for the fall […]

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When Will the ECB Move on Monetary Stimulus?

by | December 2nd, 2014 | 05:05 pm

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) final meeting at which all participating national central bank (NCB) governors get to vote takes place on December 4. In January1 a new rotational system starts in which only 21 votes will be cast for monetary policy decision—15 NCB governors and 6 members of the ECB Executive Board. Perhaps more […]

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The Pacific Alliance and Mercosur: Narrowing the Gap?

by | November 24th, 2014 | 12:19 pm

On November 24, 2014, Chile’s president, Michele Bachelet, will host a meeting between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur trading blocs. The aim of the meeting is to explore ways to increase trade ties between the blocs. The unstated aim is to send a political signal that relations are well between the two and that the […]

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What a Ukrainian Financial Meltdown Might Look Like

by | November 21st, 2014 | 02:57 pm

On top of all its other problems, Ukraine is at risk of a financial meltdown. A question remains, however: What form would it take? Presumably it would be reminiscent of the Russian financial crash of August 1998—with default, high inflation, a frozen banking system, falling output, and panic. The three critical factors at play in […]

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Are Russia’s Usable Reserves Running Dangerously Low?

by | November 20th, 2014 | 04:21 pm

Russia is heading toward a serious financial squeeze next year, despite the confident statements of President Vladimir Putin. The official figures accounting for Russia’s international reserves show a dramatic decline in international reserves, but an examination of the numbers reveals that the situation is far worse than the Kremlin says, raising serious questions about the […]

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